SAN DIEGO, Calif., April 3, 2018 – In what turned out to be an anti-climatic announcement on Tuesday, Canelo Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions confirmed what everyone saw coming. Alvarez called off the rematch between the world’s top middleweights scheduled on May 5 in Las Vegas.
Golden Boy president Eric Gomez made the official statement. “As you all know there is a hearing on April 18 and it’s extremely unlikely this will get properly resolved by then and we need enough time to promote this fight. Additionally, given the current regulations in Nevada, we have been advised, and it is unfortunate, that Canelo won’t be cleared to fight in May. We are hopeful this matter will be resolved, and we are hoping Canelo will be cleared so we can reschedule the fight for August or September.”
Alvarez and his team deserve some credit for doing the only right thing possible under the circumstances. Tuesday’s decision allows Golovkin and his promoter Tom Loeffler to move forward on the event. Alvarez can now start the process of restoring his own reputation.
Alvarez makes his first public statement about testing dirty
In his first public comments since VADA drug tests turned up positive for the prohibited substance clenbuterol, Alvarez read a lengthy statement in Spanish to assembled news media.
“I am truly shocked about what has happened, and for those who have doubts and suspicions about my integrity, I have always been and always will be a clean fighter,” Alvarez said, speaking through a translator.
“I want to clarify the situation. I have always done tests with VADA before my fights. They are voluntary,” he said. “I have always agreed to them before my fights and they have always come back negative. I am a clean fighter. On this occasion, the results showed small traces of clenbuterol. How did this happen, I don’t know. Unfortunately, there is a public problem in my country of Mexico. Football, cycling, soccer, boxing — people have tested positive for clenbuterol. This can be transmitted through meat in Mexico. Contaminated meat is what caused this. That is my statement. This has happened in all sports.”
“I want to apologize to HBO, Tecate and Hennessy and all my other sponsors, the media and to everyone who is involved in the promotion of this event, and especially to the fans. I respect this sport. I will always be a clean fighter.”
De La Hoya personally defends the character of Canelo Alvarez
Oscar De La Hoya defended Alvarez. “I’ve known Canelo since he was a teenager. Even then he worked hard, handled himself with grace and class and showed the utmost respect for the sport. Over the years while some of his peers in the sport have acted foolishly and without regard or respect for the sport, Canelo has repeatedly shown himself to be the consummate gentleman … Quite simply, he’s the model for what we want the best in our sport to be.”
De La Hoya added, “I know my description of Canelo’s character matches what you all have seen over the years as well. I sincerely hope that given his unblemished record of having never tested positive in more than 90 tests, in and out of competition, with more than 52 professional fights, you would be willing to give Canelo fair consideration.”
The situation progressed quickly. It became necessary given the high stakes and the number of interests and money involved. The Nevada State Athletic Commission “temporarily” suspended Alvarez on March 26 after its initial investigation of the results, pending a full hearing in Las Vegas now scheduled for April 18.
On Monday, April 2, the NSAC issued a public meeting notice as required for a state government body by Nevada’s opening meeting laws for a hearing on Thursday, April 5. The single item on the agenda: a request for a license by Golovkin’s promoter to stage a boxing event on Saturday, May 5 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. It signaled a cancellation at the original venue for the rematch, the T-Mobile Arena. MGM’s parent company owns both properties.
What happens moving forward on May 5?
Golovkin remains prepared for a fight on May 5 regardless of the venue and opponent. Now we know there is a change in both. T-Mobile Arena will refund original tickets on request; new tickets are available at what will be a much-reduced price. No change in the television broadcast. It remains an HBO Pay-Per-View.
Now the sweepstakes begins to find the right understudy to step in for Alvarez. None are pay per view worthy. But there are some better choices than others, and the clock is ticking. Media events and interviews take time to schedule.
Guilty or innocent, Alvarez did the right thing Tuesday
The one who needed to make the call and postpone the fight did the right thing. Alvarez had to recognize his tainted status could not be denied away. Alvarez could truly be the victim of an innocent mistake. Let’s hope the results of any investigation prove conclusive. Alvarez’s attorney Ricardo Cestero, who was present at the Tuesday news conference, says he provided evidence to the NSAC to prove what Alvarez consumed prior to the tainted drug tests.
Alvarez insisted he’s done nothing illegal. He vowed to take precautions before future fights to avoid exposure to Mexico’s infamous tainted beef products. “I respect the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and understand there are certain penalties and sanctions even for unintentional results.”
“I am willing to do whatever [the Nevada commission requests to prove I am a clean fighter,” insisted Alvarez. “I will do everything in my power to prove that I never intentionally ingested clenbuterol. I have nothing to hide. I wanted to be open and transparent in this process. Because of the respect I have for this sport, I will do whatever I can to show I have not taken this and want to prove I am a clean fighter.”
Alvarez still has to face the NSAC music
Alvarez now awaits the NSAC decision on his suspension on April 18. Six months would allow negotiations to take place for a September 2018 rematch date. What if the suspension is for a longer period – 12, 18, or even 24 months? Golvokin and his team may decide they can’t wait on Alvarez. Golovkin’s career isn’t going to last forever, since he is already age 35 and counting. He and his team must pursue other opponents.
Billy Joe Saunders of Great Britain holds the single title Golovkin needs to win to become the unified, undisputed middleweight champion. This has always been his primary goal. Should he fight Saunders and win, Golovkin could choose to say goodbye to the middleweight division – or even say goodbye to boxing for good. Alvarez is no longer of interest to him at that point.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News.
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